When it comes to getting enough Zinc in a Vegan diet, many people may be skeptical. Questions such as “Which foods are high in Zinc?!” & “What is the role of zinc?” may arise. In this post I'll aim to answer any questions you may have surrounding Zinc, and show you just how easy it is to consume enough Zinc as a Vegan.
What is the role of Zinc?
Zinc plays an essential role in the human body. Due to the fact that we have no way of storing it, it’s vital that we obtain Zinc from our diet on a daily basis. Zinc helps with the day to day functioning of our immune system, fighting off outside bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, Zinc helps repair wounds and contributes to the growth of nails and hair.
How will I know if i’m deficient in Zinc?
Symptoms of a Zinc deficiency include hair loss, weak immunity, and diarrhoea. Loss of appetite is also an example of a symptom of Zinc deficiency. However, as these symptoms can also be the result of many other problems, it’s always best to consult your doctor.
How much Zinc do we need on a daily basis?
The amount of Zinc required on a daily basis varies between men and women. As men lose Zinc due to ejaculation, they need about 11mg a day. On the other hand, its recommended that women ingest about 8mg.
How do I get enough Zinc in a Vegan diet?
Getting enough Zinc in a Vegan diet isn’t as hard as people may think. It should be noted that some plant based foods contain Phytate, a Phosphorous containing compound that can reduce the bioavailability of Zinc. Grains, nuts and Legumes contain Phytate, however there are ways to increase absorption from these foods. For example, consuming citric acid found in fruits can help with Zinc absorption, so if you wanted to be extra cautious it might be a good idea to have a glass of orange juice after consuming foods high in Zinc.
Serving of Nutritional Yeast (5g) contains 6mg of Zinc
Handful of pumpkin seeds (32g) contains 2.52mg of Zinc
Handful of Cashew nuts (40g) contains 2.31mg of Zinc
Handful of Sesame seeds (36g) contains 2.79mg of Zinc
1 Cup (164g) of Cooked Chickpeas contains 2.51mg of Zinc
1 Cup of lentils (198g, Cooked) Contains 2.51mg of Zinc
1 Cup of Quinoa (185g, cooked) Contains 2.02mg of Zinc
1 cup of Spinach (180g) Contains 1.37mg of Zinc
1 Serving of Tofu (113g) Contains 1.78mg of Zinc
1 Serving of oats (40g) Contains 1.55mg of Zinc
1 Cup (137g) of Green Peas (Cooked) contains 1.64mg of Zinc
As you can read from the list, getting enough Zinc in a Vegan diet is no issue at all. Most of these foods are everyday staple foods that should be included in meals anyway! With large quantities of Veg such as Spinach, try buying bulk bags of frozen spinach then adding it to smoothies with fruit to mask the taste. Fruit also contains Zinc, just in smaller quantities. Furthermore, by just sprinkling 5g of nutritional yeast on a meal you're providing yourself with a whopping 6mg of Zinc!